I would like to make one final comment on the subject of ‘the Pharisee’. It is a point of clarification.When I mentioned Paul being a Pharisee, we indicated that Paul claimed to be a Pharisee on a number of occasions. Now I would not like you to think that Paul gloried in his former links with that evil group of men.In Acts 23:6 Paul said: “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” Now he made this claim, not because he was proud of that former association but he saw that making the claim would throw his opponents into confusion, see 7-10.He mentions his links with the Pharisees in Acts 26:5 and again he is advancing this fact as part of a ploy to confuse his enemies.Nowhere does Paul indicate more clearly what he thought of Pharisaism after his conversion than in Philippians 3:4-8. The word ‘dung’ means literally ‘a thing worthless and detestable.’ Today, we will make a start on considering just what sort of character the Publican was according to the record of the Bible.They had shown a readiness to heed John the Baptist.“Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you,” Luke 3:12-13. How wise to ask what to do! They showed a spirit of repentance, verse 3!
The Pharisee and the Publican, Pt6. Luke 18:10-14.
We continue our look at the Pharisees as they are set before us in the Bible. They set out to kill the Saviour from an early stage in His ministry. “Then (after healing of a man) the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him,” Matt 12:14. Their opposition grew and intensified. “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet,” Matt 21:45-46. They were chief amongst His murderers. “Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons,” John 18:3. This was there spirit, Matt 23:31.They were amongst the foremost opponents of the gospel in the days of the apostles. “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses,” Acts 15:5. Yet some were saved! Nicodemus, John 3:1, 19:39. Great is God’s mercy. In Acts 9:1, we have the nature of the Pharisee set forth. “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord . . .” Here is a clear picture of the wickedness of the Pharisee. Paul was indeed a Pharisee. “Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee,” Acts 26:5.This then is something of the character of the first man mentioned here in our parable and yet he come presenting himself as righteous and without sin!How men would seek to deceive God as if He did not see their heart!
I hope we can advance a little more in our study of what a Pharisee is today. The Saviour condemned them most severely. Matt 23. The whole chapter is given over to condemning the sinfulness and hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders. What a tragic state the nation was in when the Saviour condemned so utterly its religious leaders! “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under herwings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” Matt 23:37-39.
We continue our consideration of what it is the Bible tells us about the ‘Pharisee’. We have begun to consider their links with the Saviour during His ministry. We have looked at His early condemnation of them and also their evil opposition toward and slander of the Saviour.
Now we go a little further.
Their doctrines were to be avoided. Matt 15:1-3, 16:6, 12 (Not to be touched or listened to).
We continue our consideration of what it is the Bible tells us about the ‘Pharisee’.
We have looked at the meaning of the name and also how the Pharisees were taken up with how they appeared unto men.
Now we will consider their links with the Saviour during His ministry.
Earliest mention in connection with the Saviour. Matthew 5:20. “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
This is condemnation indeed! The Saviour states in this verse that the Pharisee, because of what he believed and practised, was going to hell. Yet no one believed that he was for heaven more than the Pharisee for he had complete faith in his works and religious acts.
Consider their continual and vehement opposition to Christ. They slandered Him most wickedly. “As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils,” Matt 9:32-34. This was a most evil slander. They were saying that the Lord Jesus was in league with the devil and wrought miracles by the devil’s power. This is a sin for which there is no forgiveness since repentance and faith in Christ come through the grace of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, if we offend Him then we deprive ourselves of the help of the only One Who can point us to the Saviour.
Oh beware of sinning against the Holy Ghost today and quenching His strivings with you.